Summing up the issues-3

It is pure propaganda that the army of job order casuals can make the difference that will insure the reelection of the incumbent. The flock of candidates wanting to be included in the incumbent mayor’s slate is deluded to the point that they become what the poet described as “dumb driven cattle” that will accede to anything, even questionable acts, that the incumbent wanted. Once subservient and trapped, they are left with little options but to surrender to a cabal.

The disastrous defeat of Monico Puentevella in 2016 attests to this fallacy. His reported 10,000 casuals did not save him because during the election, indignant voters who have had enough of corruption simply outvoted the casuals. Even the ghost casuals voted against him because they were angry for paying tongs. They were used, as Leonardia is using his own, in systematic corruption.

The major issue of Evelio Leonardia against Puentevella was corruption although he was also carrying a heavy load of corruption issues. The electorates did not swallow the claim he was innocent; he simply had good lawyers. It was thus a “choice between two evils” and Leonardia got the vote as the lesser one. Lesser by whatever description is evil nevertheless. 

A corrupt government cannot control the city with its captive votes, because they do not constitute the majority. There are many times more citizens who can out-vote them to kick out a corrupt government.

Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, challenging Leonardia and his army of corrupted casuals, presents a different scenario to the “two evils” dilemma. She does not carry the “corrupt politician” tag. There is none in her long years of public service and private practice. She stands a direct contrast to Leonardia, providing the voters with a clear choice. This includes not only in terms of honesty in service but even in work competency.

Has Leonardia, a lawyer ever argued case in court, exercised his profession, owned or managed a business (except working in a bank with his now Top Gun) or received an inheritance that allowed him to spend millions in the elections? Let the voters contemplate on how he became exceedingly wealthy.

Mayoralty candidate Batapa-Sigue holds an almost daily dinner with different groups who pay for their own meal and then listen to her talk in a convivial and direct, personal way and thus is able to show her competence for office, report feedbacks from the field, and present her plans in addressing the problems of the city. These dinners are organized by groups so the “rally” does not cost her. In fact, some are fund raising dinners to help in her campaign.  

Corruption is the root of all the malaise in Bacolod that slows down its growth, creates a government operating with relativistic morals, develops a metropolis without vision and fashions an ugly city without law and order. The choice is clear. 

The campaign thrust of the camp of Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue – Change – offers to the people of Bacolod an opportunity to rid the city of massive corruption. This change, I understood in a dinner when she spoke last weekend, includes the elimination of the cabal, both elected and shadowy that governs the city.

Secrecy, I pointed out in earlier columns, is the hallmark of Leonardia’s administration. It runs smack against the principle of transparency that he and his cabal ceremoniously signed during the 2016 elections. In fact, they began their administration that year with a secretive and rapidly railroaded garbage collection contract with IPM Corporation. That contract, we learned almost immediately was greased over with an alleged P250,000 for the GP councilors. Someone noted that if the councilors received P250K, how much did the mayor get? Could it be less?

The result of this P15 million monthly garbage collection fee is tons of uncollected Bacolod’s trash. The contract guarantees the total monthly fee but does not provide for the volume of garbage to be collected. Clearly that is an onerous contract but instead of improving it to insure that the city is not short-changed, Leonardia and his councilors renewed it twice without any debate.

If there was a reported P250K distribution in the first, how much could have been in the second and third (renewed) contract? We have asked for the publication of that contract, but the Leonardia government could not care less. Why so?

Let’s continue tomorrow.